YOUNG BLACK ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE
THE SPRING FORWARD ISSUE
Non-profit founder and community leader Antoinetta Maria Stallings encouraged the young men at Fulton Leadership Academy to become active leaders in their Fulton County community.
Stallings is the founder and President of the non-profit organization, Girls with Gifts (GWG) and founder and CEO of Eye Create Productions. Stallings founded her organization, GWG, in 2011, which serves young women ages 12-18 to develop their gifts and contribute to society in a meaningful way. There are two signature programs which include Inspi(Her) Summit and Reach Back, Pull Forward.
"I founded Girls with Gifts, Inc., in 2011 when I was working for Stephen Hill, former President of BET, as his executive assistant. I felt that being from Flint, Michigan, I had an obligation to reach back and pull forward. The best way to do that was utilizing my resources and connections," said Stallings. "When I was working on the television show, Black Girls Rock, I met Beverly Bond, founder of Black Girls Rock, and I was super inspired. I was excited to show up to work every day and put the segments together for these women. However, I realized that there was a void for certain types of girls."
Stallings' experience on the popular television show, Black Girls Rock, which celebrated black women and their talents, motivated her to create an organization to help underserved young women who wouldn't necessarily get a fair shot at specific opportunities. GWG aids young women to learn about skills involving interviewing, team building, one-on-one mentorship. The Reach Back, Pull Forward program recruits ten girls each summer for small and intimate sessions. Thus far, GWG has assisted more than 125 young ladies in reaching their highest potential.
Stallings' community leadership is extraordinary. She believes that mentoring young children are an investment to all of society. She often encourages others, specifically, adults, to use their resources or talents to teach young children to lead with confidence, compassion and to assure them that they have a unique purpose in the world. Stallings' favorite song, which attributes to why she invests her time and resources into GWG, is the famous song "Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston.
"If you want to be an active community member, you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves. You can't work from the top down. You have to start from the bottom up. When you are on the ground level, you start to understand what people need," said Stallings. "If you want to be a true leader, you have to show people that you can meet people where they are while also infusing the wisdom that you have gained because you have been in that position. I would recommend the young men at Fulton Leadership Academy to start leading where they are. You can start anywhere in your journey and be an effective leader."
If you are interested in volunteering your time, mentoring a young lady, or donating resources to GWG, please click here.